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The USHA Nationals 2000 were a treat for all handball entusiasts Intense play in Doubles Finals

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Doubles Finalists
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Men's Finalists Robert Sostre, Kendell Lewis, Joe Kaplan and Cesar Sala at the conclusion of their tremendous match
National One-Wall Championships, Brooklyn, NY
Aug 3-6, 2000

What do you do after playing an incredibly intense singles championship match where you've given all you've got against a fierce competitor? That's obvious, you take a break for a few minutes and then face off again to determine the champion for doubles.

Both Cesar Sala and Robert Sostre were in the same situation, so at least there was no advantage to be had. Cesar had defeated his good friend Joe Kaplan in the semi-finals on Saturday and then teamed up in an intense match against Paul Lonergan & Fred Sylvia. Paul and Fred made a serious run, but youth prevailed in a tight 18, (13), 6 match. Paul's comment "What I would give to be able to run around like that again," reflected the reality of a 39 year old champion, now a father of 4 who has slowed down a couple of steps and just can't get out to the courts nearly as much as he'd like to.

Robert Sostre had defeated Kendell earlier in the singles competition. Together they had convincingly beaten the veteran team of Eddie Maisonet & Paul Williams 4, 13. Still after the singles finals, Robert and Cesar were equally spent. It was left up to their partners, Kendell and Joe to carry their teams early in the match.

Fans took every available piece of the sideline and fence to watch what became an classic match. Volleys of 20, 30 and more returns were common. The further the match went on, the longer the volleys were. This writer counted 48 returns for one point, 55 shots in another before he discontinued the exercise.

The weather also played a big factor. Unlike Saturday, the sun was blocked by threatening clouds which made the ball a bit slower, thereby increasing the volleys and cutting down on unreturnable serves. A mid day drizzle caused a 20 minute delay, a later sprinkle which seemed more ominous also only delayed the game, but did not stop it.

Back came the finalists, seeminly refreshed by the break and the cool moist wind. With a much smaller crowd of enthusiasts, many of whom were clearly thankful to witness such an event, the match was decided. Kaplan/Sala d. Lewis/Sostre, (14), 19, 6.

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